Women's welfare & legal provisions
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Women's welfare & legal provisions

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Empowerment of women and Legal Provision...

Empowerment of women and Legal Provision
Dr. Vibhuti Patel,
Director, PGSR & Professor & Head,
Department of Economics, SNDT Women’s University,
Churchgate, Mumbai-400020.
E-mail- vibhuti.np@gmail.com Phone-91-022-26770227, mobile-9321040048

The constitutional guarantees for empowerment of women

The constitutional guarantees for empowerment of women are as follows:
Fundamental Rights ensure empowerment of women thro’
Article 14- equal rights and opportunities for men and women in the political, economic and social sphere
Article 15- prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sex, religion, caste etc
Article 15(3)- empowers the State to take affirmative measures for women
Article 16- provides for equality of opportunities in the matter of public appointments
The directive Principals ensure empowerment of women thro’
• Article 39- enjoins the state to provide an
– adequate means of livelihood to men and women and
– Equal pay for equal work
– Article 42- State to ensure the provision for just and humane condition of work and maternity relief.
• Fundamental duties
• Article 51v (A) (e) - fundamental duty on every citizen to renounce the practices derogatory to the dignity of women.
• Financial Accountability
• Article 151- reports relating to the accounts of the Union and states to be prepared and placed before the Parliament and State legislatures respectively.
Articulation of the demands and alternatives suggested by the women’s movement constantly refer to the Fundamental Rights in the Constitution of India such as
Article 14- equal rights and opportunities for men and women in the political, economic and social sphere
Article 15- prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sex, religion, caste etc
Article 15(3) that empowers the State to take affirmative measures for women
Article 16 that provides for equality of opportunities in the matter of public appointments
When the government of India signed the UN charter on Equality, Development and Peace in 1975, the process of gender audit in the governance got an official stamp. In 1976, the Equal Remuneration Act was enacted to provide equal opportunities, equal treatment and equal wages for work of similar nature. NGOs have been consistently doing public scrutiny of Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 and specific provisions for women in general labour laws, The Factories Act, 1948 – Section 34 provides that the State government can lay down rules prescribing weights that may be carried by men and women, The Contract Labour (Abolition and Regulation) Act and Rules- that separate provision of utilities for women and fixed working hours.
Though these laws have proper implementation mechanisms, there is no provision for monitoring the effect of these laws on women. Allowance for special provisions for women have often proven to be detrimental to their employment opportunities. Participation of workingwomen in the decision-making processes in the industrial and agrarian relations is abysmally low. Women’s access to legal service largely remains inadequate in spite of the legal service Act, 1987.

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  • 1. Welfare & Empowerment of Women and Legal Provision Dr. Vibhuti Patel, Director, PGSR & Professor & Head, Department of Economics, SNDT Women’s University, Churchgate, Mumbai-400020. E-mail- [email_address] Phone-91-022-26770227, mobile-9321040048
  • 2. Constitution of India
    • Fundamental Rights
    • Article 14 - equal rights and opportunities for men and women in the political, economic and social sphere
    • Article 15- prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sex, religion, caste etc
    • Article 15(3)- empowers the State to take affirmative measures for women
    • Article 16- provides for equality of opportunities in the matter of public appointments
  • 3. Directive principles
    • Article 39 - enjoins the state to provide an
      • adequate means of livelihood to men and women and
      • Equal pay for equal work
      • Article 42 - State to ensure the provision for just and humane condition of work and maternity relief.
    • Fundamental duties
    • Article 51v (A) (e)- fundamental duty on every citizen to renounce the practices derogatory to the dignity of women.
    • Financial Accountability
    • Article 151- reports relating to the accounts of the Union and states to be prepared and placed before the Parliament and State legislatures respectively.
  • 4. Labour Laws
  • 5. Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 Equal opportunity, equal treatment and equal wages
  • 6. Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
  • 7. Women specific provisions in the labour laws
    • The Factories Act, 1948 – Section 34 provides that the State government can lay down rules prescribing weights that may be carried by men and women.
    • The Contract Labour (Abolition and Regulation) Act and Rules - separate provision of utilities for women and fixed working hours.
    • Those these laws have proper implementation mechanisms, there is no provision for monitoring the effect of these laws on women.
    • Allowance for special provisions for women have often proven to be detrimental to their employment opportunities
  • 8. Participation in Decision making Processes
    • Representation and reservations on decision making bodies
      • 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution providing for reservations of seats for women in Panchayats and Municipalities
  • 9. Access to Legal Service
  • 10. Family laws
    • Laws relating to marriage, divorce and inheritance governed by laws of the specific community.
    • The test of the validity of these laws to be made on the touchstone of Art 13 of the Constitution.
    • A number of positive amendments have been brought in the last year eg- removal of an upper limit on Section 125 the CrPC, place of filing divorce proceedings, women’s right to stay in parental as well as matrimonial home as per Domestic Violence Act, 2005 etc.
    • But a lot remains to be done. Especially amendment to Section 6 of the Guardians and Wards Act, recognizing the equal rights of mothers to be appointed guardians.
  • 11. Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
    • Marriageable age for the groom to be 21 years
    • Marriageable age for the bride to be 18 years
    • “ A groom, his parents, relatives and priests involved in a marriage with a minor girl to get 2 yesrs’ imprisonment & Rs. 1 lakh of fine.”
    • Section 13 (A) of the Act prohibits mass child marriages on certain days such as ‘Akshaya Trutiya’ & states that ‘district megistrate shall be deemed to be child marriage probation officer’ .
  • 12. Domestic Violence
      • Criminal law - Section 498A
      • Protection of women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005
        • Recognition of the right to residence
        • Provision for the appointment of Protection officers and the recognition of Service Providers
        • Trainings for Protection Officers and Judges
        • Awareness creation
        • Budgetary allocation
  • 13. Seuxal Violence
    • Sexual Harassment
      • Urgent need for legislation on sexual harassment.
      • Institution of mechanism to address instances of sexual harassment and training of functionaries appointed
      • Rape laws
      • Need for change in rape laws especially with regard to recording of evidence and the provision of efficacious justice so that victims are encouraged to report such offences.
      • Need for a law to deal with child sexual abuse.
  • 14. PCPNDT Act, 2002
  • 15. Legal Awareness about VAW
    • We must know that in India, the following legal provisions are made to tackle VAW.
    • Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.
    • Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 to take action against sexist portrayal of women in the audio-visual print and electronic media, pornography and cyber-porn.
    • Prevention of Immoral Traffic (in women and children) Act, 1987 to crack down on prostitution.
    • Commission on Sati Prevention Act, 1987 to fight widow burning and its glorification.
    • Supreme Court Directive against Sexual Harassment at Workplace, 1997.
    • The Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation And Prevention Of Misuse) Amendment Act, 2002 to stop sex selection at pre-conception stage as well as of an unborn foetus.
    • Domestic Violence Act, 2005
  • 16. Indian Penal code
    • The IPC Section Nature of Offence
    • 304 B Dowry death/ murder
    • 354 Criminal assault of women to outrage women’s modesty
    • 366 Kidnap, abduction and marriage of a women by force.
    • 366 A Procurement of a minor girl
    • 366 B Import of girl from a foreign country
    • 376 Rape
    • 376 A Intercourse by a man with his wife during judicial separation
    • 376 B Intercourse by a public servant with woman in his custody
    • 376 C Intercourse by superintendent of jail, remand home with women in
    • his custody.
    • 376 D Intercourse by any member of the management or staff of a hospital
    • with any woman in that hospital
    • 498 A Husband or in-laws subjecting a woman to cruelty
    • 509 Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman
  • 17. The Immoral Traffic Prevention Amendment (ITPA) Bill, 2006
    • Decriminalises prostituted women
    • Penalises buyers of prostituted women
    • Critique of SITA & PITA
  • 18. Implementation of laws
    • Appointment and empowerment of statutory authorities at the central and state levels.
    • Preparation of policy statements by such statutory authorities enclosing clear guidelines on the manner of implementation of the law such as code of conduct to be followed by functionaries, provision of best practices, etc.
    • Evaluation and auditing the effectiveness of particular laws and the periodic publication and submission of compliance reports with a central statutory authority.
    • Upgrading the quality of statistics maintained on women. Each statutory body to conduct yearly surveys in their particular field.
  • 19. Implementation of laws
    • Building capacity of the functionaries appointed under the law such as statutory authorities, police personnel, health personnel, counselors, etc by conducting regular trainings on the law including aspects of gender sensitisation as well as improving practices followed by them.
    • Introducing mechanisms to ensure quicker and simpler procedures for women to obtain legal redress to their problems. This would include the provision of legal aid, assistance at the time of registering complaints, making applications, provision of information on the legal options available to the women etc.
    • Raising awareness of the services and support available to women facing discrimination, from both governmental and non governmental sources.
    • Ensuring adequate representation of women in statutory advisory bodies/ policy making bodies.
  • 20. Implementation of laws
    • I. Sustained interactions between different governmental agencies to promote multi agency working.
    • J. Allocation of adequate budgets for the proper functioning of the statutory authorities.
    • K. Constant monitoring and auditing of accounts by a central authority.
    • L. Submission of financial reports to the Auditor General for it to be placed before on the floor of the Parliament or State Legislature as the case may be.
  • 21. Thank You